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Balancing Integration and Innovation Fuels MSP’s Success, Featuring TSG’s COO Steve Cox

May 18, 2016  By Steve Cox

Successfully uniting more than 25 companies into a single, customer-focused managed services provider, (MSP) doesn’t happen without disciplined planning and execution. Chief Operating Officer, Steve Cox, knew this going in when he joined TSG – one of Europe’s top MSPs – seven years ago. But he liked the idea of doing something no one else had. 

“We set up with a vision to build a UK-wide IT services business that not only offered traditional managed services and infrastructure, but also business applications – now, we can take care of our customers’ whole world of technology,” explained Cox, during a recent installment of the Autotask IT Leadership Podcast Series.

Today, UK-based TSG employs over 350 people and has several offices in England and Scotland. 

During the podcast, Cox stressed the importance of structured processes and innovation in TSG’s success. 

“Part of our success with acquisitions is doing good due diligence upfront. Gathering the right information is important to understanding the company’s culture,” Cox said. “Once you really understand the company culture, you can then look at how best to map it and align it with yours.”

TSG looks to integrate the companies it acquires within 90 days. It uses a structured onboarding process that includes communication to customers and staff, integration of systems, streamlining of redundant functions and capabilities, and integration of teams. 

“A lot of effort goes into it, and it’s quite a methodical process,” Cox said. “We want to make sure we don’t take away from the value of the acquired company’s culture while at the same time providing a consistent level of customer service.”

Autotask has also been integral in successful integration, Cox said. 

“Having the right systems in place is essential to allow businesses to be more productive and efficient. We made the decision to centralize and consolidate the majority of our internal business systems for that purpose.” 

TSG’s integration strength balances with a business model that encourages innovation.

The vision that Cox and other company leaders had always included a centralized back-end office, a single management team, a single network operations center and regional offices that work as customer hubs and sales offices. That’s why the 90-day onboarding process aims to preserve existing culture – so each regional office can innovate with its own, unique resources. 

The model has enabled TSG to be innovative in how it delivers services such as cloud and remote monitoring and management via their groundbreaking IT Support service, TSG SystemCare, Cox said.
So if you boil it down to essentials, Cox and his management team cite the following as mission-critical success criteria:

  • Centralized back-end office
  • Single management team
  • Single network operations center
  • Regional offices that work as customer hubs and sales offices
"For me, it’s all about getting the systems in place, to keep evaluating and enhancing those systems, and make sure that everything we do means we can deliver the best we can to our customers," Cox said.
 
Want to learn more? Listen to Steve Cox’ podcast
Steve Cox
COO of Technology Services Group 

Steve Cox’s first role in IT services was with Ford Motor Company, building, installing and managing the internal communications system across their European network.

From there, Steve moved on to top five accountancy firm Moore Stephens, where he sat on their IT committee, looked after the partners and managed the transition from IBM OS2 to Windows, providing support for offices throughout the UK.

Steve’s next move led him into the world of financial services, and after passing his FSA exams, he provided desktop support at International Finance Data Services for four years before taking on the role of client relations manager working with major global institutions including Barclays Capital, State Street and Jupiter.

It was during this time that Steve really began to understand business and focus on how technology can be applied to create real impact in a business context.

Prior to joining Technology Services Group in 2009, Steve spent five years getting to grips with the very different challenge of applying technology solutions within SMEs for a London-based reseller and IT services company, where he took on both operational responsibility and drove strategic direction.

Now, in his role at TSG, Steve is translating what he learned working at an enterprise level in a corporate environment for the benefit of mid-market businesses. He is convinced that if they get it right, technology can truly drive competitive edge for his clients. 
 
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